In 2015, A Published Event found(ed) artists, Justy Phillips and Margaret Woodward as an experiment in speculative eventing. A love. No less. A tripartite Medusa that publishes events.

Exploring chance encounter, constructed situations and the shared authorship of lived experience, A Published Event is an event always in the making–already made felt. A cut that releases and absorbs. Leaks and floods. In relations of body, duration and event. Our hybrid works—a kind of fusing-distilling-slagging of fictiō-critical writing, prose, book-works, video, installation and performance—explore the metaphysical language and speculative publishing of lived experience.

Now and then, A Published Event invites a program of speculative eventing around a specific proposition and collaborates with other artists and cultural institutions to test this proposition through the making of published events.


Justy Phillips is an artist, writer and publisher. She has a PhD: Scoreography: Compose-with a hole in the heart! (2015) from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently an Adjunct Lecturer at the Tasmanian College of the Arts, UTAS

Margaret Woodward is an artist, writer and publisher. Margaret has a PhD in Design: Overlapping dialogues: the role of interpretation design in communicating Australia’s natural and cultural heritage (2009) from Curtin University of Technology. She is Associate Professor of Design and co-founder and leader of the Creative Regions Lab at Charles Sturt University, NSW.



Ally Bisshop is an artist, writer and researcher, dividing her time between Berlin and Sydney. Her practice engages process philosophy and ideas around aberrant language, materials, and temporalities. Ally is currently undertaking a PhD in Visual Arts at UNSW Art and Design, Sydney and holds a with first class honors (majoring in microbiology) from the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia (1999) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts through the College of Fine Arts, UNSW Sydney, majoring in sculpture and installation. Ally's writing has featured in runway and Berlin Artlink and she is an editorial board member of the runway journal for Australian experimental art, a position held since 2013.


Julie Gough (AUS) is an artist, freelance curator and writer. Her research and art practice often involves uncovering and re-presenting often conflicting and subsumed histories, many referring to her own and her family's experiences as Tasmanian Aboriginal people. Julie holds a PhD from the University of Tasmania and has exhibited widely in Australia since 1994 including: undisclosed, National Gallery of Australia, 2012; Clemenger Award, National Gallery of Victoria, 2010; Biennial of Sydney, 2006; Liverpool Biennial, UK, 2001; Perspecta, AGNSW, 1995. Her work is held in most Australian state and national gallery collections, and she is represented by Bett Gallery, Hobart.

Ross Gibson is an artist, writer and Centenary Professor in Creative & Cultural Research at the University of Canberra. Recent works include the books 26 Views of the Starburst World (UWAP) and Stone Grown Cold (Cordite Books) and the co-production of the ABC Radio National Feature 'Energy Grids'. Outside academia he was inaugural Creative Director at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (1998 - 2002) and a Senior Consultant Producer for the establishment of the Museum of Sydney (1993 - 96).


Sarah Jones is an artist, writer and curator. Through first person narrative, both written and performed, Sarah is interested in the desire for the dissolution of the perceived self in the spaces between the landscape and the body. Understanding text as a kind of emotional cartography, Jones explores the (text)body in (time)space. She explores publishing as the unfolding of a making public —an act of collaborative desiring; the demand for a witness who is simultaneously present and absent. Sarah was awarded her Masters of Fine Art by the Dutch Art Institute in the Netherlands, June 2014, after completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Tasmania in 2007. She was the 2012 recipient of the Alcorso Foundation Italian Arts Residency for which she worked with artists at the Bevilaqua La Masa Foundation, Venice (IT). Sarah is currently a PhD research candidate with the University of New South Wales, School of Art and Design, Sydney.


Greg Lehman is an Indigenous Visiting Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and has recently completed a PhD at the University of Tasmania’s School of Art on visual representations of Tasmanian Aborigines. Greg is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the Australian National University’s Humanities Research Centre, supporting the development of Encounters exhibition. He is also a member of the National Museum of Australia’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery’s Aboriginal Advisory Council. Greg is currently working with the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia on the early stages of planning for the first exhibition dedicated to Duterrau’s work and is supporting the Tate Britain Gallery in their development of a forthcoming exhibition ‘Art and Empire’.


Erin Manning is an artist and philosopher. She holds a University Research Chair in Relational Art and Philosophy in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) and is the director of the SenseLab, a laboratory that explores the intersections between art practice and philosophy through the matrix of the sensing body in movement. In her art practice she works between painting, dance, fabric and sculpture. Current iterations of her artwork explore emergent collectivities through participatory textiles. Her project Stitching Time was presented at the 2012 Sydney Biennale. Her writing addresses movement, art, experience and the political through the prism of process philosophy, with recent work developing a notion of autistic perception and the more-than human. Publications include: Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Experience (with Brian Massumi), (Minnesota UP), Always More Than One: Individuation's Dance (Duke University Press, 2012), Relationscapes: Movement, Art, Philosophy (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2009) and Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement, Sovereignty (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2007).


Astrida Neimanis is an academic, creative and experimental writer whose research focuses on water, weather, and other environmental bodies. Recent artistic collaborations include more&more, led by US-based artist Marina Zurkow (punctum books, 2016); ((pollen)), a multimedia epistolary project with Perdita Phillips and the ((pollen)) collective (Spectrum, WA 2014) and Journey to the Post-Anthropogenic led by Oron Catts (Kilpisjarvi Biological Research Station, Finland, 2013). Her writing has been widely published in both academic journals and interdisciplinary arts-oriented publications (e.g. Harvard Design Review, Alphabet City, Caprice). She is co-editor of the cultural theory, art and poetry collection Thinking with Water (2013), and her monograph, Bodies of Water: Posthuman feminist phenomenology is forthcoming in 2016. Astrid currently works as a Lecturer in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney.

James Newitt (AUS) is an artist who lives and works in Hobart and Lisbon. James’ work explores specific social and cultural relations, often embracing mutability and paradox. He has received state and national funding grants for individual and collaborative projects and has been awarded international studio residencies in Los Angeles and Liverpool, UK through the Australia Council for the Arts. James has exhibited his work in exhibitions in museums, galleries and public spaces throughout Australia and Europe. In 2012 he was awarded the prestigious Samstag Scholarship to participate in the Maumaus Independent Study Program in Lisbon. In 2010 he won the City of Hobart Art Prize and in 2009 he was awarded the Qantas Foundation, Encouragement of Contemporary Art Award. James is a Lecturer, at the Tasmanian College of the Arts.


Jane Rendell(BA, DipArch, MSc, PhD) is an academic and writer. She trained and practiced as an architectural designer, before studying for her MSc and PhD in feminist architectural history. Her interdisciplinary work, through which she has developed concepts of ‘critical spatial practice’ and ‘site-writing’, crosses architecture, art, feminism, history and psychoanalysis. Her books include Site-Writing (2010), Art and Architecture (2006), and The Pursuit of Pleasure (2002), and co-edited collections like Pattern (2007), Critical Architecture (2007), Spatial Imagination (2005), The Unknown City (2001), Intersections (2000), Gender, Space, Architecture (1999) and Strangely Familiar (1995). Her new book concerning transitional spaces in architecture and psychoanalysis will be published in December 2015. She is Professor of Architecture and Art at the Bartlett, UCL.


Mary Scott lives and works in Hobart, Tasmania. Selected recent exhibitions include Facts and Fictions, [2015], UK Drawing Projects, The Drawing Centre, Trowbridge, UK; Drawing Now, [2015 and 2014], Despard Gallery, Hobart; Hobart City $15,000 Invitation Art Prize, [2015], Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; Black Powder, [2013], Contemporary Art Tasmanian and Detached Cultural Organisation; Down the Line: an exhibition of drawing, [2013], Near and Far, [2011] Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; Wilderness: Balnaves Contemporary Painting, [2010], Art Gallery of NSW; Look Out, [2010], Contemporary Art Tasmania in collaboration with Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; Hobart City $15,000 Invitation Art Prize, [Winner Drawing] [2009], Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; Every Minute of Every Day, [2009], in ‘Trust’, Ten Days on The Island Festival, Tasmania. Scott has been a recipient of several New Work Australia Council Grants [2008; 2002]. When she is not in her studio Scott works at the Tasmania College of the Arts where she is Senior Lecturer.

A Published Event Contents
Lost Rocks Readers + Collectors 07.03.17

Newsflash. We just smashed our Pozible crowdfunding target for Lost Rocks (2017–21) reaching $18,015


Join us at the WCHC in Zeehan for our first Lost Rocks distributed event, Ten Days on the Island 2017.

Lost Rocks (2017–21) LAUNCH 29.03.17

Join us for a live reading of SILVER/LEAD by Sarah Jones for the Lost Rocks (2017–21) launch at the Peacock Theatre, Hobart.

Lost Rocks 2017—21


Lost Rocks

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Lost Rocks (2017–21) is an ambitious, slow-publishing artwork – a library of forty books, four books published twice yearly for the next five years. Forty single traces, ten dynamic seams, or one spectacular forty-rock Lost Rocks Library. Brought to life by Australian artists Justy Phillips and Margaret Woodward (A Published Event) and composed by forty contemporary artists from around the world, Lost Rocks is an accumulative event of mineralogical, metaphysical and metallurgical telling.


Margaret Woodward

When H saw the rock board in the local tip shop, she knew she had to have it. IGNEOUS, SEDIMENTARY, FOSSILS, METAMORPHIC and MINERALS, its 52 specimens displayed in five taxonomic groups, each labelled with red DYMO tape. These were the labels of a carefully arranged mineralogical landscape, the force fields of its specimens tamed and framed. With two gold coins she purchases the rock board, brings home this trophy of small losses and lives with it. She could not have known the hand that had brought these samples, these fragments, together but like so many others circulating the globe, this dispersed collection carries with it the zeal of a geological education – a portable landscape of Tasmania’s idiosyncratic terrain...

  • 96pp, Softcover
  • 11x18cm
  • English
  • $20 (aud)
Crocoite II

Justy Phillips

  1. We are all born with a hole in our hearts.

In the womb of our mothers, before we are breathing air, this hole acts as a kind of trapdoor that allows blood to bypass the lungs. In most cases this trapdoor closes itself during the first few days after birth. In rare cases, its hole remains open. This hole, you might come to know, as an ‘organism that persons’. A seam that grows-with. This is what happened to me. Medically, a hole in the heart or ‘patent foramen ovale’ can present in either the upper (atrial) or lower (ventricular) chambers of the heart, causing what is known as atrial and ventricular septal defects. These congenital heart ‘defects’ or rupturing malformations, enable blood to travel abnormally between the chambers of the heart. This diversion allows...

  • 96pp, Softcover
  • 11 x 18cm
  • English
  • $20 (aud)

Jane Rendell

A prospector, he was born on 7 October 1846 at Stuttgart, Duchy of Württemberg, where he was educated. A clerk in a chemical firm, he later trained as an edible-oil technologist with a large chemical manufacturing company in Hamburg, where he worked in the export department as he was fluent in English and French. He was delicate and the bitter winter of 1868 brought on a serious lung weakness, so he decided to leave Germany for a warmer climate. He arrived in Melbourne in 1869 and, on advice from friends, moved to New South Wales. He worked on Walwa station, then wandered from place to place until engaged as a boundary rider on Mount Gipps station in the Barrier Ranges in the far west. After discoveries of...

  • 96pp, Softcover
  • 11 x 18cm
  • English
  • $20 (aud)

Sarah Jones

I am digging a hole. I had thought that the hole would be around a metre deep, but already, at thirty centimetres, the ground is harder than I’d planned. I had planned (plans for the Earth?) that the Earth would submit to this unannounced displacement. Looking into the poor excuse that is the beginnings of my hole, I consider that the earth might have had other plans. The soft burn of frustration at dirt that will not heed my effort is rising in my cheeks. Two types of scarlet exertion flush my face. I’m probably also sunburnt; three. I stop digging. Hot from the inside and the outside, I throw the shovel down, the short unsatisfying thud it makes does nothing for what feels like an inherent specie-al inferiority. The dirt is too hard, the sun is too hot, I have no impact of the scale that...

  • 96pp, Softcover
  • 11 x 18cm
  • English
  • $20 (aud)
Fall of the Derwent 2014 — 16


Fall of the Derwent

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54.0% Download hydrographic score

Fall of the Derwent (2015–16), is an experiment in hydrographic publishing by artists Justy Phillips and Margaret Woodward, commissioned and presented by GASP (Glenorchy Art & Sculpture Park) Tasmania, as part of Swimmable: Reading the River.

In their ambitious hydrographic score, Fall of the Derwent (2016), Phillips and Woodward draw from the river(s) Derwent, a living organism that re-composes with every reading. Generated in response to the current Energy in Storage Levels of the River Derwent, each hydrographic score is completely unique. You can download your score here or you can visit GASP and scan the permanently installed QR code on the banks of the River Derwent at Wilkinson's Point, Elwick Bay, Tasmania. An invitation to move-with a marking, cutting, flooding deluge in the making.

Through a year-long process of research-creation that included in-depth archival research, walking, writing, making, recording and publishing, the artists entered into relation-with the river as living event. Over two recent summers, the artists walk from the sea to the source of two Rivers Derwent. First, they walk from Workington to Borrowdale (UK) and then from Blackmans Bay to leeawuleena (Tasmania). They encounter more than one namesake. And then comes the fall. Fall of the Derwent is an actual, mythical event in the making–already made felt. A moving blackwards. No less.

Slag 2017—
A slow-publishing event2017–21


Lost Rocks (2017–21), a slow-publishing event of mineralogical, metaphysical and metallurgical telling.

A library of 40 fictiōnellas
Composed by 40 artists
Publishing 4 books twice-yearly
March and September

Tasmania, Australia

She touched the board first, held it's frame high overhead. Signalled across the tip shop floor. Found my eyes swimming in a sea of armchairs and bedside tables, snooker cues, suitcases, preserving jars.

'We'll take it'.

And so becomes the conceptual heart of this artwork – a discarded rock board, found by the artists at the Glenorchy tip shop in Hobart's northern suburbs. Forty of its fifty-six Tasmanian rock specimens are missing. Over the next five years, we will commission forty contemporary artists to each select an absence from this incomplete board and re-compose it, not with a geological specimen, but with a 'fictionella' – a new kind of novella drawn from lived experience.

Each Lost Rocks fictiōnella is publishing in a limited edition of 250 paperback copies – an alchemical network of artists, readers and lovers of absence re-composed. In the hand, each book feels like a slim paperback novel (111mm (w) x 181mm (h) x 7mm (d), printed in black throughout with spot colour covers, the Lost Rocks fictiōnellas look handsome in any arena, home, studio, cafe, dental surgery or mining office.

Through a commissioning process born of rocks and relations, we’ve connected the first 20 artists (from Australia, Norway, Germany and Canada) to their lost rocks:

2017: Justy Phillips (Crocoite), Margaret Woodward (Crocoite), Sarah Jones (Silver/Lead), Jane Rendell (Silver); Greg Lehman (Crystal Bone), Ross Gibson (Basalt), Ally Bisshop (Marble), Erin Manning (Copper).

2018: Astrida Neimanis (Petrified Wood), James Newitt (Fossil), Mary Scott (Petrified Wood), Ben Walter (Conglomerate), Julie Gough (Shale), Raymond Arnold (Copper), Jerry de Gryse (Copper), Trygve Luktvasslimo (Mudstone),

2019: Lucy Bleach (Rhyolite), Ruth Hadlow (Granite), Rory Wray-McCann (Mudstone), Louisa King ( Marble).

Collect the entire Lost Rocks (2017–21) Library:
As well as all forty books, the Lost Rocks Library includes a spectacular limited-edition (/100) 'rock ledge'. Each rock ledge is hand-made from Tasmanian timber and a mountain top of west coast Stichtite serpentine on which to balance your collection. The entire library of 40 fictiōnellas spans a neat half-metre upwards or outwards depending on which direction you let it grow. Your fictiōnellas will arrive at your door in sets of four books, mailed twice-yearly over the next five years. You will have your complete Lost Rocks Library by 2021.

Over the next 5 years, we are planning a series of live events across Tasmania – readings, performances and conversations that will expand the distribution of Lost Rocks, and create opportunities for us to invite national and international artists to the state. We are also developing a series of portable vending machines so that future readers can buy their fictiōnellas on the street. The first of these events is series of distributed events and live readings at the Zeehan School of Mines and Metallury (March 18 –26th), commissioned by Jane Deeth for 'Sites of Love and Neglect' for Ten Days on the Island festival 2017.

Crocoite, Crocoite. Silver. Silver/Lead.18–26.03.20167


Crocoite, Crocoite. Silver. Silver/Lead.

Sites of Love and Neglect.
Ten Days on the Island Festival
West Coast Heritage Centre

114 Main St
Tasmania 7469

A female mannequin in steel-grey overalls and wide smile wears yellow rubber gloves. Hands resting on hips, her safety helmet (has clearly taken a knock or two) suggests the need for vigilance. And feeling. Where the weight of words might fall. Might injure. Might turn living, breathing life into inanimate beings that populate museums just like this one. We move in unison to a central room filled on every wall with books and rocks and bits of equipment that measure and weigh. Assay.

Dressed in black and flattened oyster shell, CROCOITE opens her mouth. Speaks slowly through the ologies of her life. The rocks do not move. The minerals stay in orderly lines. One after the other. Beneath the safety glass. She reads.

We follow her into the World Class Mineral Room, filing past, one by one, the giant replica gold nugget.

Encased in a brass-lined mineral display case are the rarest specimens of red-lead clusters. Shards of crystaline crocoite illuminate her books. She reads in swathes of red, divining rivers and fathers and men who cut tracks and fight in wars and die in seas. A prospecting of relations.

We walk again. This time, over lush green grass and blistering light to the Underground Mine Simulation, that’s cleverly built above the ground from red brick and timber. Inside, every surface beyond the dirt floor has been blasted with shotcrete.

SILVER/LEAD speaks softly but with conviction from the start. Paints the cosmos with ink and water onto a giant screen that absorbs her voice into its porous skin and fills the parched cells of every living thing beneath this earth.

Thirteen seconds from the end, she takes a spade and cuts in two, an earthworm. The mantle breaks. Opens. Swallows.

Another cut. In the Power House, Urs Fischer’s, You gouges a massive hole in the floor of a New York gallery. Something about grains of sand falling from a woman’s shoe and the sedimenting cutting of a hole that is alive. A hole that beats with a heart and a car stereo speaks CROCOITE through a set of home-made speakers.

Walking again, snaking over the green green grass and up the concrete ramp. The Court House, basks like a sun fish in the great yellow light of an Indian summer. A drama for eight players. Scene 3. I am the RepRisk Analyst, perform my lines alongside SILVER’s CEO, Police Prosecutor and Philosopher (makes a late but dignified entry).

The audience ask questions and the sun starts to shy away. Now we are all touched, or maybe tainted. The court room jaundiced in the dying light. We head to the Cecil for Riccadona and Jimmy Barnes.

Four distributed events by CROCOITE: Margaret Woodward (AUS) in the World Class Minerals Room, CROCOITE: Justy Phillips (AUS) in the Power House, SILVER: Jane Rendell (UK) in the Court House and SILVER/LEAD: Sarah Jones (AUS) int he Underground Mine Simulation at the Zeehan School of Mines and Metallurgy, as part of Sites of Love & Neglect, curated by Jane Deeth for Ten Days on the Island 2017.

These site-specific events are each expanded from the artists’ four fictiōnellas, part of Lost Rocks, (2017–2021). Hobart: A Published Event – and take the form of sound, video, object and live performance. The work is open from Saturday 18th March – Sunday 26th March 10am–4:30pm daily (114 Main Street, Zeehan).There will be live readings on Saturday 18th March, 4:30pm, 5:00pm and 5:30pm.

Fall, now a river.26.11.16


Fall, now a river. Now a leech. Now a hook on a line on a rod on the arms of a man who walks with the night in a sweat-stained cornflower collar. Black lipped. Tight lipped. Union is strength.

Wilkinson's Point

GASP / Glenorchy Art & Sculpture Park
Elwick Bay Foreshore
Brooker Highway
Glenorchy 7010


With black in hand, the readers stand. Some of them lean as the concrete shimmers. Others scan the crowd for a flicker. A shifting eye. A presence of something so slight. Yet leaking.

Clinging to their skin, a blanket of tree dust. The dying atoms of tree flesh and tree roots and tree leaves that once were green and ochre. Some of them purposefully spread the little black atoms up their arms. Touching now and then, the sweet spots of the neck. Brush hair from a fringe. Rub their fingers against the smooth of their lips and let the black just sit there. Some might call it an attractor to a river. A magnet that calls her glassy silver spine up and into their liver. Until they lick it clean. The black. Let the tree fall deep and fast into their chest. Let the dust settle.

I’ve had my eye on a teenage reader. Slumped against the glass that’s pink and shattered. He is different to the others, tries in vain to stop the blackness from feeding his palms. With his eyes he draws a line across his wrist and then tries really hard not to break it. He can’t see the small black mark on the side of his face that’s about to bite him hard.

The black’s unruly. That’s the problem as far as I can see. And I’m just an innocent bystander. I look at my hands. Now I’m the one who’s staring.

It’s just after sunrise on the Alum Cliffs. A pacific gull splayed upside down in the pit of a broken tree. Should have taken more care.

Her telltale red-tipped bill bleeds orange into the great yellow disk of the sun. All these years of life’s tethering. Osiris, god of the dead, whispers, inside our salty breath, water darkens everything.

I can’t quite work out what’s going on. But one of the readers comes and stands alongside. Opens a small black book and starts to read aloud. It’s funny, at first it’s not their voice that I can hear but I watch intently, their silvery lips moving up and down the river. The sound is coming from behind and to the right. It’s a woman. An older woman’s voice. And now there are people laughing. Amongst themselves. And others listen. But the man at my side does not leave me. Does not stop his reading. Not for the noise. Nor the river that’s trying to draw him blackwards. It’s sad what he’s reading, the parts I can hear anyway. Something about a man in a moss-filled forest. A pair of lungs full of river. When he looks up, the reading man, I think he’s crying. But he’s not. It’s me. Have the tears come up and out of me yet? I can’t tell where my skin in any more. He looks me right in the eye, the man. Doesn’t say a word. Just places his finger into the length of the book. As if to remember himself to the page. Brings the covers together and places it into my open hands. I am a raven full of maggots. A broken mother of pearl. Shards of light from the shell illuminate the maggots. Sets off a feeding frenzy obliterating dark matter from the hold.

Whip snake.

Sessile oaks and ash and rowan. All the body’s vital organs. In the hold.

The wind’s picked up. Small white crests are whipping new peaks into water. I don’t want to open the book. Not right now.


In Fall, now a river. Now a leech. Now a hook on a line on a rod on the arms of a man who walks with the night in a sweat-stained cornflower collar. Black lipped. Tight lipped. Union s strength, Phillips and Woodward invite a site-specific publishing of their ambitious hydrographic score, Fall of the Derwent (26 November, 2016). Made public with one hundred hand-to-hand publishers, this reading score is a marking, cutting, flooding deluge in the making. Each line, released through the current Energy in Storage Levels of the River Derwent. It is a call to move-with the river of life. An actual, mythical event in the making–already made felt. A moving blackwards. No less.

Readers: Cullen Butters, Jerry de Gryse, Ruth Hadlow, Sarah Jones, Clare Larman, Justy Phillips, Colin Maier, Amanda Robson, Margaret Woodward.

Black here

we invite black to compose us. To touch. Make. Retch. Thrust. Keel. Us. Allow it to taste us, to smack its lips onto our lips. And make us.

Black there

we walk into its shadow. See how it lives beyond and without us.

black and greasy

‘graphite is of a peculiar iron-grey or dark steel-grey colour with metallic lustre. It is absolutely opaque and feels greasy to the touch...Used for writing on paper it makes a clean, distinct black mark, which can be rubbed off with bread-crumbs or India rubber (caoutchouc)...The finest lumps of graphite were formerly obtained almost entirely form Cumberland, where they were found in the slate rocks of Borrowdale’. (Ansted, 1880, p.186).


an act of becoming-black.


another name for wad, graphite, plumbago, black cawke or black lead. A colour. In A Word-list of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Languages, N.J.B. Plomley notes that, ‘No wide resemblances have been noticed between ‘black’ and the blackness inherent in certain objects and situations, e.g. (black) man and (black) woman, the night, and charcoal.’ (Plomley, 1976, p.165).

blackberry cane

a vigorously growing stem of the blackberry bush (Rubus fruticosus). Recognised as one of the worst weeds in Tasmania, the blackberry was declared a Weed of National Significance in 1999.


moving-with and already towards, black.

black breath

when we visited Dad in the Cottage Hospital, we both thought we saw tiny particles of black air fill his mouth.


‘’ – N.J.B.Plomley, in A Word-list of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Languages, notes that ‘The blacklead of the aborigines was probably the mineral iron glance, which is found on the surface of the ground in several localities in Tasmania. It was used by the natives to make lines of black on the skin, such as markings around the eyes.’ (Plomley, 1976, p.166).


‘This remarkable mineral, known by various names of which black-lead and plumbago are the most familiar, is particularly interesting in its relation to the rare, brilliant, and costly diamond, and the much more valuable and abundant coal, on whose presence and convenient position for extraction the national wealth and progress of England have so much depended. Chemically, graphite, diamond, and coal may be said to be identical. They differ only in the mode of aggregation of the atoms of carbon of which each alike is made up.’ (Ansted, 1880, p.185).

Black lead

a carbon mineral first found in lump form deposits in the early 1500s at Grey Knotts in Borrowdale, England. Between the early 1600s–1800s, blacklead was used as lubricant, medicine and for the making of armaments. The best-known of the graphite-based industries is pencil making. The first pencils to be developed from Borrowdale graphite emerged around 1800, with the first pencil mill in Keswick opening in 1830. Black lead or graphite is currently mined commercially (amorphous and flake) in China, India, Brazil, Korea, Canada, Russian Federation, México, Ukraine, Turkey, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Norway and Austria.


a feeling of saturating depth without colour. Colourless. Of every possible colour.

Black devils

‘Shoot the black devils down’: (Fawkner, 2007, p.23–24).

Black market

an expression with origins in the illegal trading of graphite. First coined in the ale houses of Keswick, Cumbria.

Back Sal

a notorious smuggler of wad who scavenged the mineral from tailings at the Borrowdale mine. Robbers like Black Sal made nightly raids on the mine and surrounding grounds, risking serious penalties if caught with even a trace of pilfered ‘black gold’, (Black Sal herself was allegedly hunted to death by a pack of hounds). As Tyler writes, ‘This quiet backwater had now become an area for vagabonds, rogues and thieves, who would stop at virtually nothing to get their hands on the precious wad.’ (1995, p.90). In 1751, George II’s Act of Stealing from Blacklead Mines was passed, dealing exclusively with the theft of wad. Penalties were harsh, making the stealing or receiving of illegally obtained wad punishable by a public flogging, a year’s hard labor or a term of seven years transportation to the colonies. This is what happened to James Butson, one of 186 convicts transported to Van Diemen’s Land on the ship ‘Circassian’ in 1832. Butson was sentenced to 14 years at Bodmin Quarter Session for stealing 1lb of black lead. The 1751 Act of George II states that, ‘Theft punishable with two years imprisonment. Everyone commits felony and is liable on conviction thereof to two years hard labour as a maximum punishment who steals or servers with intent to steal the ore of any metal or any lapis calaminaris, munick or any wad, black cawke, or black lead, or any coal or cannel coal from any mine, bed or vein thereof respectively.’ – (Stephen, 1887, p.269).

Black Line

a military campaign designed to subdue, incarcerate, expel and ultimately eradicate the Aboriginal peoples of lutruwita. On the 1st of November 1828, Lieutenant-Governor Arthur proclaimed martial law within the settled districts of Tasmania. By this proclamation he conceded the existence of a state of war and effectively ‘declared war against the whole Aboriginal population of Van Diemen’s Land’ (Calder 2010, p.181). Arthur strengthened military posts, by first forming ‘roving parties’ (groups of civilians set up to capture or expel the Aborigines), and then styled a levée en masse. On the 7th October 1830, 550 troops of the 15th, 57th and 63rd Regiments of the Van Diemen’s Land garrison formed a ‘line’ of men with the purpose of driving all remaining Aborigines southwards onto Tasman’s Peninsula. A campaign map drawn by the Land Survey Department commenced on the east coast at St. Patricks Head, then west to the Meander River, terminating in the south at Eaglehawk Neck. At an estimated cost of £30,000–£35,000, the Black Line campaign was a complete failure with Governor Arthur admitting that ‘no single party discovered any traces of the Natives’: (Melville, 1962, p.113). As Calder writes, ‘Martial law ended with the proclamation of the end of the campaign, and the status quo prevailed; that is, the people were once more British subjects under the care and protection of the Crown.’ (2010, p.189).

black lines

marks that extend in both directions and have no beginning or end.


(Prunus Spinosa L), a tree of ill omen. A deciduous tree also known as the Mother of the Woods and the Dark Crone of the Woods. It dwells on the edges of woodlands, forming dense hedgerows and thickets. An astringent useful in the treatment of diarrhoea, rheumatic illnesses, pimples or any kind of dermatosis; gallbladder stones and diabetes. The tree ‘bears wicked long sharp thorns, which if pricked, can turn septic’. (Hageneder, 2000, p. 185).

black swans

(Cygnus atratus) is the only entirely black-coloured swan in the world. They are a highly nomadic species that enjoy very much the brackish waters of the River Derwent, either side of the Bridgewater Causeway. They eat algae and weeds.

Black Milky Way

recorded by Plomley as ‘tone.ner.muck.kel.len.ner ’ (1976, p.408). Throughout trouwunna (Cape Barren Island), Aboriginal groups have a strong connection with the night sky. As Patsy Cameron writes, ‘the northeast Coastal Plains people claimed they were brought into being by stars which came from the constellations in the Milky Way...The arc of the Milky Way was identified in two parts–the Black Milky Way, tonenermuckkellenner, and the White Milky Way, pullenner’. According to Cameron, trouwunnans distinguished by name, not only those ‘shining objects that made up the non-intangible ‘white’ mass but also those in the intangible ‘black’ space that is also an integral part
of our galaxy’ (2016, p.27).

black wool

the thick and bristly wool of the herdwick sheep – a unique breed of domestic sheep, native to the fells of the central and western Lake District in Cumbria. So durable is their fleece, it is said that these sheep are ‘known to survive under a blanket of snow for three days while eating their own wool’. (Davies, 2009, p. 94).

black bream

(Acanthopagrus butcheri), a bronze coloured fish, reflecting green when fresh. Lives in the estuary of the River Derwent, Tasmania.


towards the thunder.

black lipped


black jay

the telling bird.

blackening heart

it’s happening right now.


a call to arms.


a way of moving-with the colour ‘broken black’.

Black land

Cape barren Island. Aboriginal land.

Black snake

(Notechis ater).

Black Bobs


Black Snake Creek

Black Sail Pass

Black Snake Road


Blackmans Bay


Blackwells Gully


Black Beck

Black Crag


Blackhall Gully


Blackhorse Gully


Blackstone Point


Black Bobs Rivulet


Black Hill Creek


Black Gully Creek


Black Hill


Blackboys Opening


Black Snake Rivulet*

Blacklead Mining Company (The Tasmanian)

a company with the only Tasmanian commercial mining lease for graphite, operating on Cape Barren Island. Registered by Mr. Robert James Sadler in Launceston on the 30th day of July, 1898.

black-gold seam


blackening ochre

a way of protecting the skin.

What3words is a geocoding system for the simple communication of locations. In a unique combination of just 3 words, it identifies a 3mx3m square, anywhere on the planet. To access this system of locative nomenclature visit:



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A river settles its own cairns underwater01.09.16


A river settles its own cairns underwater

Island literary magazine

Volume 146 3/2016
Pages 38–39

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